Everything you need to know about C-sections
Whilst it isnt the most conventional way of giving birth a c-section is a real possibility in the modern day labour and birth of your new baby. If I am totally honest it isnt something I even considered when writing my birth plan. For me it turns out during my very own emergency c-section that its extremely difficult or even impossible for me to have a natural birth. Crazy isnt it?
Its a slight regret of mine not being totally informed about what it is, and what it is all about. Especially because I will be hopefully having another baby soon and an elective c-section is my way forward. I have been doing some research, reading a lot of articles and I thought I would share everything I have found about it, so that you are a little more aware of your options if and when you are presented with the decision.
So what is a c-section?
A c-section, or caesarean section for its proper term, is when a baby is delivered by a surgical procedure. A small incision is made into the womens abdomen and uterus.
Did you know that caesarean section deliveries count for between 18% and 30% of births in the UK?
Staggering really how many there are these days and worries me why I didnt pay more attention to the possibilities during my own pregnancy.
When Little L was born, it was via an emergency c-section. I have written about his birth story in a lot more detail however it was essential for the wellbeing of both myself and my unborn baby. It was a very scary time, and a bit of a haze really. But it happened very quickly, very efficiently and in the end everything was well and my baby was born. An emergency c-section would happen if your labour isnt progressing the way it should do, you are experiencing heavy bleeding which could indicate internal issues, or your baby is distressed.
An alternative is to opt for an elective cesarean within your birth plan, this is my option for my second child. You could choose this option if you have had a previously difficult birth, had a Caesarean section before, or if there are further complications within your pregnancy such as placenta position, your babies growth or position. This is generally discussed with your own midwife and taken on a case by case basis.
Did you know there were three options of anaesthetic?
I certainly didnt know this, I was only aware of an epidural, which I was really against in my birth plan anyway, but there is a spinal anaesthetic (which is what I ended up with) and also if none of these are possible for one reason or another a last resort would be a general anaesthetic.
During a c-section you are allowed one other person present unless the procedure is being done using a general anaesthetic. My hubby was present for Little Ls birth and I have no doubt he will be there with the next one.
An emergency c-section is very different from an elective cesarean so I have read. As there was a threat to Little Ls life during his delivery I never got any skin to skin contact. I also had a bad reaction to the spinal with my temperature dropping and so I missed out on feeding him and all those cuddles at the beginning. Not all emergency c-sections will be like mine, but its a really good idea to be mindful of this. An elective cesarean seems much more relaxed and providing there have been no complications you will get the instant skin to skin contact (if of course that is what you want) and during your recovery you will be encouraged to continue that and breastfeed (if you are choosing to do so).
Another thing I wasnt aware about, partly because I didnt do any research during my pregnancy, was the recovery time.
Did you know that it can take up to six weeks to full recover from a c-section?
It really can take that as well. I remember in those early days I asked people not to make me laugh because it hurt so much. Its difficult to get out of bed, becoming mobile and generally doing your day to day tasks. The best thing is to rest and use this time to help your body recover. I did try and do too much during my recovery and I definitely felt it took me longer to get back to normal because of it. Its important to be mindful and prepare. I am planning on making meals to freeze, calling on family members to help out with the cleaning and planning those first few weeks as best I can. These things are important whether you are planning a c-section or not, even if it isnt needed you will be thankful for all your planning in those first few weeks of motherhood, or with a newborn.
Im really not sure how it will be with a toddler in tow the next time round, but I will definitely be planning ahead.
Finally the last thing I would say is do not worry about it. I knew a c-section was a possibility during my pregnancy (I didnt however know that a natural birth wasnt possible at this time) but the whole concept really filled me with dread. There is so much hype about it and there has been some negativity, but whatever you decide, and what ever will happen it is just the way it is. The most important thing is the health of you and your baby.